The Electoral College meets today in state capitols and the District of Columbia. You wouldn’t know it from all the fake news about the popular vote, but since 1804, the winner of the presidential election is the candidate who gets a majority of the electoral votes.
In the wake of Donald Trump’s shocking victory over Hillary Clinton, Hollywood celebrities have become, um, “experts” on the Electoral College.
Get over it, says Washington Post editorial writer Charles Lane
:Her 2.8 million popular-vote margin is one of the largest for the electoral-college loser in American history, or will be, once the electoral votes are officially cast on Monday. Still, it is fallacious to invoke this statistical byproduct of Nov. 8 to question the legitimacy of Trump’s victory — as opposed to that victory’s desirability, which is questionable indeed.
As all concerned knew going in, the object of the presidential election game is to win the most electoral votes in what are essentially 51 state-level contests (the District included), just as the object of football is to score the most points. Gridiron teams would play differently under instructions to maximize yardage; candidates would campaign differently if maximizing national popular votes were the prime directive.
Aiming for 270 electoral votes out of 538, both Clinton and Trump focused on 13 swing states; Trump won that contest-within-a-contest by 816,000 votes.
Today the Electoral College Class of 2016 – 306 Republicans and 232 Democrats – officially votes to elect Donald J. Trump as president. Hillary can claim her “Most Popular” trophy as she exits the stage.
What Democrats expected to be the historic election of the first female president was instead a devastating loss — for Clinton, Obama and their political vision. That reversal of fortune was palpable in the days following the election as Democrats reeled from a knockout blow that they never even saw coming.
When President Obama passes the baton to President Donald J. Trump, Democrats will be left with memories.
I am a founding member of the Election Verification Network. The membership includes University of Michigan computer science professor J. Alex Halderman, the computer science expert who sparked Jill Stein’s petition for a recount in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Since its founding, EVN has pushed for voter-verified paper ballots and a forensic audit of every election. So it’s not surprising that Alex and other members have latched on to calls for recounts in three states.
But Jill Stein’s vanity recount is not advancing election integrity. Instead, it’s setting back electoral reform.
Maybe ‘democracy’ will be served by Jill Stein’s quixotic moralizing. More likely, Jill Stein and the Green Party will be served.
Jill Stein may actually believe that demanding a recount of presidential tallies in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania will ensure that “democracy” is served.
More likely, she believes the Green Party will be served by her audacious PR stunt.
Either way, the Stein recounts are a colossal waste of money and energy when there is not a shred of credible evidence of fraud or error and when the final vote in these three states likely will not change very much.
Stein’s quixotic moralizing damages the credibility of the very institution she claims to protect — the sanctity of the ballot box.
Those who donated to Recount 2016 did so voluntarily. Stein paid the state of Michigan $787,500. But taxpayers could end up paying $5 million in additional costs. So Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a lawsuit to halt the “dilatory and frivolous” recount:
Michigan voters rejected Stein’s candidacy by massive margins but her refusal to accept that state-verified result poses an expensive and risky threat to hard-working taxpayers and abuses the intent of Michigan law. We have asked the court to end the recount which Stein is pursuing in violation of Michigan laws that protect the integrity of our elections. It is inexcusable for Stein to put Michigan voters at risk of paying millions and potentially losing their voice in the Electoral College in the process.
Meanwhile, the Green Party has withdrawn its lawsuit for a statewide recount in Pennsylvania. Although Stein has raised over $7 million, they claim the petitioners “cannot afford to post the $1,000,000 bond required by the Court.”
In a tweet, Stein asks, “How odd is it that we must jump through bureaucratic hoops and raise millions of dollars so we can trust our election results?”
What’s really odd is that the candidate who received less than 1% of the vote is pushing for a recount in Pennsylvania rather than the candidate of the 1%, Hillary Clinton.
Facing long odds in Pennsylvania, the nutcase is taking her case to federal court. If the case winds its way through the federal court system and makes it to the U.S. Supreme Court, President Trump’s pick will be there waiting for Dr. Jill Stein.
Karl Marx said, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” The 2000 presidential election came down to Florida. Trailing George W. Bush by 537 votes, Al Gore pressed for a recount in four cherry-picked counties. He pressed his case all the way to the United States Supreme Court. The Supremes stopped the recount.
Fast forward to today. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s share of the vote barely registered in Wisconsin (1.04%), Pennsylvania (0.81%) and Michigan (1.07%). Still, in less than 48 hours, she raised over $4.7 million towards the cost of recounts in the three battleground states.
In Pennsylvania, recount petitions are filed by voters not candidates on a precinct-by-precinct basis. In Philadelphia County alone, there are over 1,600 precincts; statewide, there are 9,163 voting precincts. The deadline (November 21) to file the petitions has passed. So a lawsuit is Jill Stein’s only option.
It should be noted that only 17 counties have any form of paper trail. Voters in these counties represent roughly 20% of the total vote in the Keystone State. In vote-rich Philadelphia and Allegheny (Pittsburgh) counties, there are no paper records to recount.
There are countless reasons why people are upset about the results of the 2016 presidential election. The final tallies in the critical states of Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania were extremely close. But we cannot help noticing that Green Presidential candidate Jill Stein's fundraising goals for recounts in these three states keeps rising as she brings in more money. The initial goal was for $2.5 million. That was bumped up to $4.5 million. Now it has been raised again to $7 million.
That’s very fishy.
At best, I think this is basically a publicity stunt for Jill Stein. At worst, well ... the ever-escalating goals speak for themselves. An election campaign really has no limit on how much money it can raise or spend. Recounts are finite. There’s only so much recounting you can do – even when you pile on ‘lawyers fees’ and fees for recount workers.
Hillary Clinton’s supporters have been crying since Election Night.
When the farcical recounts are completed, they may drown in their own tears.